Day 18 Paring Down & Mindfulness Part II: The “When” or “If” Dilemma.

ifcloudPC: The image was great, but the content on the blog was inspirational!


I’m just over halfway into this month-long challenge, I’m running into some small barriers. The items I’m left with are falling into the category of: “Oh I’ll use this when the right time comes along” and “Oh I’ll use this if (insert occasion/event)” happens. The items fall into the miscellaneous category, with some intersections into the sentimental category, applying KonMari’s method. I’ve also seen some parallels to the “just in case” article on The Minimalists, and the “just in case” article on becoming minimalist.

Josh’s line of thinking on the second linked article speaks around safety or comfort in owning our just in case things. The span of time does not matter, beyond a couple of weeks. If it’s several months or a year or more, does the item really justify staying here unused? A counter example I can think of: here in the midwest, having a snow shovel in the back of our vehicle is important. That’s an important when/if item. However, having some kitchen utensils for the right occasion didn’t make sense, nor did hanging onto old electronic boxes. I felt like this was easier to let go. But I also ran into some more challenging categories, which I think is synonymous with where I’m at in the KonMari method.

I’m not specifically talking about holiday decorations / etc. We have a fair amount of Christmas holiday decorations, and some seasonal ones for Easter, fall, and Halloween. They’re not too much and we get value from having them up and being festive.

A concrete example is music CD’s. Maybe we’ll go on a road trip and want tunes. I do know we haven’t used our CD’s in quite some time. We don’t have a stereo in our home. Conveniently, I store all of my music on a flash drive backup. Is keeping these albums a nostalgia factor? Do I really need to own the physical copies? Probably not, because I still haven’t used them in several years. I think it’s fair to say it’s time to part ways. There’s also many examples of other possessions around the house that fit this mold — the if/when I’ll need it. However, I think this same type of thing happens for the dreams we have in life. So I want to spend a little more exploring this premise because maybe we can get at the root of the issue.

The Dilemma of If/When


This is usually me in the brainstorming phase of an idea and envisioning how I think it will turn out. Man, this is going to be so sweet! (PC: NBC)


And here I am once more, letting my brain place those conditional if and when statements to my awesome dreams. Please pay special attention to my brain, dressed in a red, jerk-like polo shirt and his stupid blue pants, not even bothering to lend a hand. (PC: NBC)

I’m coming to find a lot of things I had been hanging onto include those conditional words, if & when. Sometimes they’re material things, but sometimes they’re immaterial. In the midst of a good title image search for this post, I stumbled across this blog entry, which I found impactful. How many things have been holding me back because of the way I’ve allowed myself to think. “Oh I’ll wear this shirt when we go out for an evening.” Not realizing I didn’t really enjoy the shirt to begin with. It didn’t fit. I honestly believe some of the same mental pitfalls we get trapped for our stuff also turn into mental gymnastics when we’re trying to leap over those proverbial mental hurdles for the goals we want to accomplish in life.

How about these modes of thought? “I’ll explore my passions a little bit more once we have more time. More money. I’ll find a new job when the time is right. If the right opportunity comes along, I’ll know for certain.” These things have really been holding me back. “I’ll go and get my referee certifications, my coaching credentials…” The list goes on. These are literal dreams of mine I am in the prime of my life to take advantage of. I think I need to change the way I think, so I’m going to start with some baby steps here, too.

My goal for the coming week.



I’m going to look into local certification classes in my area, and the process to becoming a referee. It will be combining my passion, exploring some new opportunities in my community, and learn some new skills and knowledge along the way. Who knows what might come out of it, but it will be exciting! This post didn’t turn out quite the way I originally envisioned, but I think I’ll roll with it because it cracked open some ideas I’ve been resistant to explore or spark some change in my own life.

I want to challenge you to pick up something you own you’ve been holding on to, but don’t use. Why are you holding onto it? Is it functional, and do you use it? No? Try letting it go. Similarly, I want to ask you what’s a goal you want to achieve, no matter how large or small? What’s really stopping you from doing it? As I track down the logistics and start down an unbeaten path for some of my own dreams, I challenge you all to explore something of your own this week. I think that this is but yet another step along in my minimalist journey. Thanks for reading!




2 thoughts on “Day 18 Paring Down & Mindfulness Part II: The “When” or “If” Dilemma.

  1. This is advice I didn’t realize I needed. Your explanation of the if/when concept puts into words something I struggle with way too often. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


    • Hey N! Thanks for this comment, I wanted to make sure I got back to you. I thought this was helpful advice when I first read it to. Likely I’m paying for the real estate on an if/when item. If I ever need to use one, is it unbearable to borrow one or repurchase/rent one? That’s where I think I land on some of the items that fall into those categories.


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